Do you have an excellent idea for a store and are afraid of the risks of starting a brick and mortar retail location? That isn’t surprising.
With 95% of sales expected to be online by 2040, it makes more sense to set up shop where your potential customers are. For most companies, that place is online.
If you want to start a successful eCommerce business, there are a few things you need to get straight first. Follow the six steps below to learn how to start an eCommerce business.
- Find the Right Product to Sell
It doesn’t matter if you have one of the greatest product ideas created in the past decade. If nobody out there thinks your products are worth paying for, you’ll have problems starting an eCommerce business.
Before you decide what product to sell, do a little market research to see if there’s a market. If you have a product that’s never been on the market before, set up a focus group to check with your target customers. They will be the ones who tell you if your product is worth pursuing.
If you plan on selling other people’s products, make sure you find in-demand items. Look at how well your product niche sells on other marketplaces to determine if you can move enough volume to make sales.
- Reach Out to Manufacturers
Now that you have a product to sell, you need to find the right people to make it. Depending on what kind of product you plan to sell, this process will be a little different.
If you have a unique item, you’ll need to reach out to manufacturers to create your product line. Send your product blueprint to manufacturers so they can figure out if they can produce it. They’ll provide you a quote for you to decide if their price is acceptable.
If you work with manufacturers’ pre-made products, you’ll need to get in touch with them to get inventory. Some of them work with distributors who sell their products wholesale, so it will take some work to find the right company to buy from.
- Determine How You’ll Ship
With how much Amazon has changed the shipping process, it’s hard to get away with taking weeks to ship your products. If you don’t provide timely service to your customers, you might not last very long.
You’ll need to set up a supply chain that can pack and ship quickly. If you plan to ship yourself, come up with a process to pack and ship your products. The more you standardize a procedure, the more efficient your employees will be when packing.
If you buy from a distributor, you can take advantage of dropshipping to ship your products. When you use dropshipping, you don’t purchase any inventory yourself. You’ll send your sales to a distributor, and they’ll pack and ship your products for you.
- Choose an eCommerce Platform
Setting up the tech for an eCommerce store used to be complicated. There was a lot of functionality you had to get working right and many laws you had to comply with for security. Luckily, things are much easier today.
There are several eCommerce platforms that will help you set your site up in minutes. One of your most important choices will be if you want a self-hosted store or a managed one.
A self-hosted eCommerce store is one where you use your website hosting to run your store. You’ll use a platform like WooCommerce or Magento to run your store. Most hosting platforms have installers to set up this software for you.
Your other option is a managed eCommerce provider. These eCommerce platforms are specifically designed for eCommerce and support you during every step of the setup process.
There are many tutorials out there that show you how to start an eCommerce website. Reading these will help you learn the software.
- Design Your Website
Now that you know what platform you’re using, it’s time to get your website designed. The question is, do you use a theme or hire a pro to do the job.
A theme is cheaper and will get you started straight away. There are a few free themes out there, but those won’t always work for every person. Many websites use free website themes, so your site will look like many other ones out there.
A paid theme will give your site a fresher look. They provide more customization options than free themes and offer support.
If you want a unique website, then hiring a designer is the way to go. They will learn who your customers are, what they look for in a website, and provide you a design that convinces people that your company is worth doing business with.
- Start Marketing
You aren’t going to get customers just by starting an online store and opening it for business. There are millions of websites on the internet. How do you expect your customers to find yours?
You have several options when it comes to marketing. Your first one is by using SEO.
SEO is the process of creating content on your website that’s designed to increase your rankings on Google. Your goal is to find highly searched keywords, create informative content, and build backlinks to power up your website’s authority. It’s a long process, but it will provide you free traffic for as long as you retain your rankings.
Your other option is paid marketing for eCommerce. With paid marketing, you’ll take advantage of display and social media marketing to create ads targeted toward your ideal customers. Your campaigns won’t likely make money at first, so you’ll need to take the data you gather to optimize your ads until they’re profitable.
Now You Know How to Start a Successful eCommerce Business
There’s no guarantee that your venture into the world of eCommerce will be successful. You’ll need to do all you can to prepare ahead of time to set yourself up for success. Be sure to follow the tips above to maximize your chances of launching a successful eCommerce business.
Of course, you need to understand how to drive visitors to your new website if you want a shot at success. Read our latest marketing tips by heading back to our blog.